Scottish Ambulance workers’ sickness rate soars
Sickness rates have soared among ambulance staff over the past year, with hundreds of workers confined to their sickbeds despite a deal to resolve a row over rest breaks.
The Scottish Ambulance Service which employs about 4,000 staff, saw sickness rates hit 7 per cent in April, up from 4.5 per cent in May last year.
It follows the deal with ambulance workers over breaks, in light of widespread public anger when a patient died after a worker refused to interrupt his break.
Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “This sudden and unexplained increase in sickness absence, with 7 per cent of staff off sick every day, is not sustainable and there is clearly a problem.
“It appears to be a cynical betrayal of the spirit of the recent agreement.”
Mandy Mathieson, of Tomintoul, Moray, died after an ambulance technician stationed close to her home did not respond to a call as he was on a break.
The deal saw 150 extra staff hired. It means workers have to attend emergency calls during their shifts. But a 37½-hour week is now worked, instead of the old 40-hour week which included two-and-a-half hours of unpaid break time.
The ambulance service has a sickness rate target of 5 per cent and bosses insisted reducing absence was a “priority”.
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